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|Arrival of F-16XL Ship 2 at Langley 1993: Joseph R. Chambers (L), Chief of the Flight Applications Division and W. Ray Hook (R), representing center director Paul Holloway greet Jim Smolka a test pilot from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center upon delivery of the F-16XL Ship 1 to Langley in 1993. In the 1980s a highly successful joint program between Langley and General Dynamics was conducted to develop an efficient supersonic version of the F-16 fighter. The resulting F-16XL configuration incorporated a highly swept supersonic wing which was retrofitted to two existing conventional F-16 aircraft. One aircraft, referred to as Ship 1 was a single-seat aircraft in the second aircraft was a two-seat version known as Ship 2. After the military program was terminated, the two prototype aircraft were loaned to NASA Dryden for research applications including studies of supersonic laminar flow control for supersonic civil transports. As part of planning for the NASA High-Speed Research (HSR) Program to develop technology required for a supersonic civil transport in the early 1990s, Langley proposed to use the F-16XL Ship 1 for low-speed high-lift studies of such configurations. After the aircraft arrived on loan from Dryden, it was painted black with gold trim to enhance flow visualization (see EL-2000-00568). Within months the HSR activity was changed and the F-16XL departed back to Dryden where it was used for aerodynamic studies in a joint program with Langley.
|The NASA F-16XL is a research airplane that was used for the Cranked-Arrow Wing Aerodynamics Project (CAWAP). The aircraft is shown in the research paint scheme utilized for on-surface flow visualization. During CAWAP, tufts, oil, and liquid crystals were used to document the flow patterns on the upper surfaces of the wings.|
For more on the role of Langley Research Center in the development of the F-16, see the 2015 eBook Elegance in Flight.